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                    [post_content] => 

Cybersecurity has been the top priority for government agencies when migrating to digital services. A universal expectation from the government is that they will keep our personal and state information safe

But this comes with a price. User experience has been poor and speeds and uptime have suffered.

After a series of embarrassing failures, including the widely criticised #CensusFail, the Government is under increased pressure to deliver reliable digital services. Understandably, it has not wanted to prioritise usability over security, but the time has come when it needs to figure out how to achieve both.

The Australian Taxation Office in particular, understands the need to re-build public trust after this year’s many outages. The new ‘digital by default’ and ‘cloud first’ policies have meant the ATO has had to leap into the cloud to improve reliability and speed in order to regain trust.

The ATO has now announced that it is moving its mission critical applications off-premise and into the public cloud through Amazon Web Services (AWS) with the help of IBM’s integrator business and Accenture. The ATO is one of the first Federal Government agencies to implement the new strategies, potentially paving the way for others to follow suit.

One of the biggest problems organisations are facing today is shifting away from outdated and unreliable legacy systems, and this is certainly true of Government agencies. While there is a misconception that the public cloud is less secure than other hosting options, in this scenario, migrating to the latest software in the cloud will actually reduce the government’s risk.

Mitigating risk

Traditionally, government has steered clear of the public cloud, fearing the security risks were too great. Instead, government agencies have either architected entire on-premise infrastructures or worked with telco providers to create a government-only network with encrypted communications and no outside connectivity. The ATO’s recent move to AWS could well mark the beginning of the end of this period in how the Government delivers services to Australians. In a recent talk at AWS, Alastair MacGibbon, the Prime Minister's Special Advisor on Cyber Security, said migrating to the public cloud is no longer seen as risky. Instead it will increase both reliability and the ability to react to new and evolving cybersecurity threats. Mr MacGibbon even admitted that cloud specialists like AWS are better equipped to manage the Government’s digital platforms.

Meeting public expectations

Government organisations are far from exempt from the extraordinarily high expectations Australians have of customer service providers. We expect the government to spend wisely on technology to make our lives easier. A 2016 study by Australia Post found that 94 percent of Australians want all government services to be available online. But only 29 percent of eGov users were satisfied with their experience, and 58 percent had encountered some problem with the online service. With consumer expectations rising, both state and the Federal Government need to invest in a better digital customer experience. For public cloud adoption, the focus needs to be around consistency of service levels and security posture when moving to public cloud environments like AWS – thus not affecting end-user experience and trust. The transition to the public cloud should not impact the end user, so a cheaper solution that is only good enough will not always deliver the results expected by government agencies. The tools used for delivering applications therefore need to be consistent and portable between cloud providers to provide optimal experience to the user and deliver a consistent service level, regardless of where the application resides. The goal for government should be for 99.9 percent uptime of applications whilst keeping them safe, and if this is not attainable, people will judge agencies on their speed and capability to bounce back from unexpected outages, downtime, or technical failures, particularly at times of urgency and peak traffic. Whilst public cloud adoption is a perfectly valid strategy, if the decision is solely based on cost, there is a good chance the service level comparison hasn’t taken place and a compromised service level and security posture has been provisioned  Service levels and security must at least be maintained and potentially improved. If not, information security and user confidence will be compromised, along with some embarrassed Government personnel. By shying away from perceived risk, rather than actual risk, the Government is doing itself more harm than good. By placing an increased importance on useability of its digital service, the Government will be able to better deliver services to those who need them, regaining the trust of Australians. The ATO is leading the race towards the Government’s cloud-first goal, paving the way for the rest to follow suit. Rather than seeing it as a risk, other government agencies should see the ATO’s leap towards the cloud as a positive step towards improving customer experience. Martyn Young is Senior Manager, System Engineering ANZ at F5 Networks   [post_title] => ATO hopes for clear skies as it moves to public cloud [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => ato-hopes-clear-skies-moves-public-cloud [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-24 08:54:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-23 21:54:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28619 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28614 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-24 06:21:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-23 19:21:39 [post_content] => Limited working budgets and an unsuitable organisational culture are the biggest barriers to achieving digital transformation in the local government sector, says a new report. The report, from University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and sponsored by software company Civica, is based on a survey of Australia and New Zealand Local Government Authorities. It was released to coincide with the annual Civica Expo conference for customers and partners, held in the Sydney seaside suburb of Manly on 22-23 November. Approximately 70 percent of survey respondents said that limited budgets are a major constraint to digital transformation, and 65 percent believe organisational culture is an impediment. Other perceived barriers are the speed of technological change (37 percent), difficulty in meeting user expectations (32 percent) and conservative leadership (25 percent). The findings are in the fourth edition of Civica’s ‘Changing Landscape’ research series, developed in collaboration with Institute for Public Policy and Governance at UTS. This year’s report is called ‘The Changing Landscape for the Public Sector: The Challenges of Building Digital Bridges’. According to Professor Roberta Ryan, the Institute’s director, local governments in particular continue to struggle with limited funding, implementation and resourcing issues for digital projects. “Many LGAs have to make a trade-off. Digital services are being pushed down the list of priorities in favour of more immediate requirements to build or maintain physical infrastructure that serves to keep communities moving. “Meanwhile, the absence of leadership understanding in driving an outcome-based strategy is also hindering successful implementation of digital initiatives.” The survey also found that LGAs are strongly in favour of partnering with other organisations to achieve strategic transformation goals. Nearly 60 percent of respondents felt that partnering with similar organisations was a substantial opportunity for them, and closely followed by partnering with external consultancies (54 percent) and private organisations (49 percent). Partnerships with state and federal government were some way behind, at 34 percent and 16 percent respectively. “Public sector organisations want to embrace digital solutions, said Richard Fiddis, managing director at Civica. “Many organisations operate different system environments. Even though amalgamations offered access to bigger budgets, this also meant that larger amounts of data and systems need to be merged. “We see huge potential for the public sector to work with each other and third parties like ourselves to achieve strategic goals – and they appear willing to do this voluntarily – but what maybe they are saying is support us, don’t force us.” Nearly all (84 percent) of the survey respondents view digital transformation as an opportunity, but almost one in five felt they were still not given many chances to learn new skills relevant to a digital-first environment. In addition, nearly 80 percent of respondents admitted failure to implement some digital projects. There is also still a significant one in three organisations who believe they only talk about emerging digital technologies. Alarmingly, a small section revealed that they don’t pay attention to emerging technologies. “For some councils their citizens place a high value on physical services and human engagement. At the same time, some communities can seem ambivalent around the use of new technologies,” said Mr Fiddis. He said the results demonstrate that organisations with a culture resistant to change or lacking resources and talent struggle with driving transformation projects. “Another key reason that can lead to implementation failure is an absence of knowledgeable leadership backed by a sound strategy. Despite the struggles, almost three quarters of the survey respondents state their leadership has a clearly established strategy to become a digitally mature organisation. “Embracing digital transformation requires the existence of a digital culture and mindset across the organisation, championed by strong leadership that can tackle the challenges of leading in a digital first environment.” The study was based on survey responses from 200 professionals within IT teams, finance, corporate and governance teams at local government councils, state departments, infrastructural organisations and educational organisations from Australia and New Zealand. [post_title] => Lack of money and knowledge hindering digital transformation [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => lack-money-knowledge-hindering-digital-transformation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-24 06:21:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-23 19:21:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28614 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28605 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-22 14:00:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-22 03:00:27 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28606" align="alignnone" width="300"] The trees are dead - what about the Plan?[/caption] It is five years ago today (22 November) since the announcement of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. But not everybody is happy. The Basin Plan is the latest attempt to reconcile the many demands on water from the extensive river system. It was agreed to at the time by the six governments with jurisdiction over the Basin – Federal, NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT. They are now squabbling, and many stakeholders say the Plan is not working. The 2012 Plan grew out of the 2007 Water Act 2007, enacted by the Howard Government, which established the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) as an intergovernmental body to ensure that the Basin’s water resources are managed in an integrated and sustainable way. The MDBA operates as an independent statutory authority, reporting to the Federal Minister for Agriculture. That was until recently Barnaby Joyce, former Deputy Prime Minister and head of the National Party, who is currently out of Parliament because of the citizenship issue. The five year anniversary of the Basin Plan has been marked by statements from the Nature Conservation Council and Inland Rivers Network critical of the recent management of the plan, and urging that its original aims be fulfilled. “We urgently need a Royal Commission into all the mismanagement of water occurring across the Basin and especially here in NSW,” said Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski. “It is critical to get the Basin Plan back on track and delivering the outcomes needed for a healthy river system and healthy communities that depend on it.” Inland Rivers Network spokesperson Bev Smiles said: “On the fifth anniversary of the Basin Plan, there are four key outcomes we are asking for across the Basin:
  1. An independent Federal regulator of water management and compliance
  2. An ecologically sustainable river system
  3. Cultural flows and water rights
  4. Vibrant and diverse communities and economies.
Many of their concerns are based on allegations in the ABC’s Four Corners program in July that large scale ‘water theft’ was occurring, and that a senior NSW agriculture bureaucrat were colluding with upstream water users to thwart the Plan’s aims. Subsequent investigations by the NSW Government revealed the truth of the allegations, and in September the deputy director-general of water at the NSW Department of Industry, Greg Hanlon, was forced to resign after it was found that he had shared confidential government information with irrigators to help them lobby against the Plan. Both the Federal and NSW Governments have resisted calls for a formal inquiry, but concerns are growing about the viability of the plan in the face of what is believed to be concerted efforts to undermine it. The South Australian Government has been extremely critical of the NSW Government in particular. SA Water Minister Ian Hunter has accused NSW of a cover up of ‘criminal water theft’ and has called for a Royal Commission. The Murray–Darling system is one of the world’s larger river basins. It covers just over a million square kilometres, or 14 per cent of Australia’s land area. That is around the same area as Spain and France combined. It is home to more than two million people. Total river length is 77,000 km, including Australia’s three longest rivers. It includes virtually all of inland NSW and the entire northern half of Victoria. It takes in the Darling Downs and the Warrego in Queensland, and South Australia’s Riverland. At its eastern end is Australia’s capital city Canberra. The city stands on Lake Burley Griffin, which was formed by the dammed Molonglo River, which flows into the Murrumbidgee, the Murray’s greatest tributary. The Basin produces one third of Australia’s food supply. It contains 40 percent of Australia’s farms and 70 percent of its irrigated farmland. It produces almost all of Australia’s rice and cotton and two thirds of its grapes. More than half Australia’s fruit is grown in the Basin, and it is home to nearly half the country’s sheep. These remarkable statistics illustrate the Basin’s premier position as Australia’s most important agricultural area. It has been farmed intensively for over 150 years, much of it with extensive irrigation systems. Successive governments overallocated the supply, and the ‘millennium drought’ of 2001-09 highlighted the inadequacies of the river system’s management. The creation of the MDBA was the first time ever that the Basin was managed as a whole. The 2012 Basin Plan was seen as a significant step in the century old history of collective water planning and management in the Basin. But now it is in trouble, with the NSW and Federal Governments seeking to change the Plan to give more water to farmers and return less to the river system for environmental purposes. On the evidence, they have already been parties to this happening illegally. Barnaby Joyce, before he left Parliament, said the water theft allegations were not the Commonwealth’s problem, and the NSW Government has been largely silent on the issue. He also boasted to upriver farmers that they would get the water they wanted. The problems are simmering and are likely to explode into a major issue. To many, it already is. Matters are likely to come to a head after the release next year of the Productivity Commission’s major inquiry into the reform of Australia’s water resources sector. The inquiry has received hundreds of submissions, many of them extremely critical of the current situation. The draft report, released in September, said there is much more work to do and that reform priorities should  include “maintaining the key foundations of water management and preventing bad policy habits re‑emerging.” That would not seem to be the case at the moment. [post_title] => Five years on, Murray Darling plan ‘eroded’ [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => five-years-murray-darling-plan-eroded [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-24 06:23:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-23 19:23:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28605 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28589 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-21 05:49:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-20 18:49:10 [post_content] =>

The Council of Australian Government Energy Council meets in Hobart this Friday (24 November) to try to bring some order to Australia’s fractious energy policy. It will be the first meeting held since the announcement of the Federal Government’s National Electricity Guarantee (NEG). The Government is promoting the NEG as an alternative to the Chief Scientist’s recommended Clean Energy Target. It includes a scrapping of the existing Renewable Energy Target after 2020. Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg says the NEG will ensure 28 percent renewable energy by 2030, and has rubbished the ALP’s policy of 50 percent renewables by that date, calling it irresponsible. Unfortunately for the Government and Mr Frydenberg, two major independent reports, one of them commissioned by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, have supported Labor’s target. The most important of these reports is from the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA), about as august a body as we have in this country (it brings together the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Australian Academy of Science, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering). The ACOLA report was done in partnership with the Chief Scientist. It represents the best thinking on the matter, by the most eminent scientists. “At an aggregated national level, Australia can reach penetrations of 50 percent renewable energy without a significant requirement for storage to support energy reliability,” says the report. “Installing the levels of storage power capacity (GW) required for the purpose of security creates the opportunity to expand energy stored (GWh) capacity for reliability at a lower marginal cost than would otherwise be the case.” The report says Australia could be a world leader in renewables, but it was being held back by poor planning. It also says that the Government has a role to play in educating the public about the technology. This is so at odds with what is actually happening that it can only be seen as a rebuke to current Government policy. It is already providing ammunition to the Federal Opposition and the Labor states ahead of Friday’s COAG meeting. The ACOLA report can be found here. Another report, from the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures and commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, says the much the same thing. The report focuses on the ageing Liddell coal-fired power station in the Hunter Valley, slated for closure by owner AGL and something of a cause celebre by adherents of coal, who want its life extended. It is called ‘Beyond Coal: Alternatives to Extending the Life of Liddell Power Station’ and contains more bad news for the Government: “Replacing the Liddell coal power station with clean energy and other smart solutions would slash climate pollution and be more than $1.3 billion cheaper than the Turnbull Government’s proposal to keep the ageing plant open past its use by date,” says the report. ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said the results showed Australia’s elected representatives were holding the country back by stalling a comprehensive plan for the swift transition to clean energy. “Australia desperately needs a comprehensive climate change policy that will facilitate the rapid transition to a clean energy future,” Ms O’Shanassy said. “Any climate change and energy policy, be it the National Energy Guarantee or another proposal, must be designed to encourage as much clean energy and smart technology as possible, and not prop-up polluting coal plants that are damaging our planet.” The ACF report can be found here. The Government consistently accuses the opponents of its energy policy as being driven by ideology. But on the weight of evidence, it would seem that the opposite is the case. COAG meetings are intended to bring about a consensus between Australia’s top two tiers of government. A consensus on energy policy appears unlikely, which will add to the very uncertainty that these two reports and many observers say is one of the major causes of the lack of investment and planning which is driving energy prices up in Australia. The COAG Energy Council issues Communiques after its meetings, which have become much more frequent in recent times. The one from next Friday’s meeting should make interesting reading. [post_title] => Battle lines drawn for energy COAG [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => battle-lines-drawn-energy-coag [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 08:20:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 21:20:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28589 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28585 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-21 04:26:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-20 17:26:08 [post_content] =>

Australia has long held a reputation for being the ‘Lucky Country’. That has largely been the case over the past 25 years. Our economy has the averted the financial crises that have plagued the USA and Europe. Most industries, with relatively high amounts of low-cost capital at their disposal, have grown steadily. But has this streak of good fortune made us complacent in the ways we design, build, and maintain our cities and infrastructure? How we will respond if our luck runs out? ‘Smart cities’ and ‘going digital’ are phrases that will resonate in 2018 as we focus more on technology. Infrastructure professionals are increasingly taking advantage of design software that digitally connects and unites people, processes, data, and digital technology to yield significant results. This technology will have a profound effect on the realisation of a smart city. Smart cities, intendedl to deliver economic, social, and environmental improvements, have gradually become more prominent over the past decade. To realise the potential of a smart city, a concerted focus is being placed on the latest digital strategies to enable comprehensive project delivery and enhanced asset performance for those who design, build, operate, and maintain our city infrastructure. There is increasing use of digital engineering models in infrastructure design. These models act as visual operations that support infrastructure asset performance, taking advantage of cloud computing, the Industrial Internet of Things, big data, and operational data from a variety of sources. These models can be referenced through the full lifecycle of our city infrastructure, resulting in longevity and performance improvements. But technology is only one enabler for smart cities.

Australia’s growing pains

Many smart city initiatives to date have been born out of necessity. In the USA and Europe, most of current smart city developments emerged from the financial crises that have severely curtailed government budgets and available spending for infrastructure. The cities with the most visionary leadership, like Singapore and Helsinki, have typically built smart cities to overcome constraints such as the availability of land. That has not been the case in Australia, but we still face three significant problems: population growth, urbanisation, and climate change. These challenges mean that smart cities need to develop much faster and more effectively. Failure to act will have dramatic consequences for public infrastructure as Australia’s population increases. Our population growth rate is one of the highest in the OECD, with particular concentration in our major cities. These surges have already begun to push existing transport, utility, and housing infrastructure to their limits. Australia’s population growth shows no sign of decelerating. If urban planners continue with business as usual, our cities will soon hit a tipping point where public transport, utilities, and services like healthcare will begin to experience frequent and severe disruption. The only way to adapt to population growth and increased urbanisation is to take a long-term, collaborative approach to smart city investment and policy, one that encourages leadership and direction from the top combined with local creativity and innovation. We need to prioritise sustainable gains over short-term results.

A new approach to smart-city planning

As always, it is best to start with the end in mind. Smart cities are a political and economic issue and local leaders at the highest level should define exactly what a ‘smart city’ really means to them. That definition may vary radically depending on the city. Some cities will prioritise transport and reducing congestion; others will focus on liveability, utility supply, or health. Ultimately, cities are about people, so the needs a smart city addresses should be based on close consultation with citizens, focusing on achievable outcomes. Including smart city objectives in procurement activities, to encourage innovation and competition. Governments must also address the competing priorities of the various parties involved in any smart city’s transition. Infrastructure owner-operators (often governments themselves) will typically focus on budget constraints, service levels, and operational performance, while portfolio managers concentrate on optimising spend over the lifecycle of their infrastructure assets. Meanwhile, contractors most often focus on maximising their profitability. Often, due to restrictive contractual conditions, contractors are forced towards an adversarial mindset on projects, assuming a zero-sum game where any benefit to the client results in a loss to them. Urban planners should design contracts, incentives, procedures, and environments that address these various parties’ priorities and bring them together in a collaborative environment. Governments should extend their planning horizon for the success of smart city developments. For example, systems to streamline and digitise public transport infrastructure should be designed based on the city’s expected demand once the project finishes in five or ten years – not the city’s current requirement. Long-term maintenance costs, not just short-term capital savings, should feature prominently in any feasibility assessment of smart city projects. Urban expansion should also account for the flow-on costs and externalities involved in any plan. ‘Building upwards’ on existing structures, for example, may reduce the total cost of infrastructure. It does this by lowering ongoing investment in extra roads, substations, water facilities, and other connecting infrastructure, compared with the costs of ‘building out’ into new land. Similarly, smart city developers should always consider investing in existing infrastructure as well as building new. The former may not bring as much glamour or public attention, but it may prove more cost-effective and faster to complete – both significant benefits for any government’s long-term legacy.

Is it too late?

Fortunately, Australia has a highly educated workforce and the technological means to build effective smart cities before our luck turns. We have a window of opportunity. Advances in computing power have made it possible to capture data about entire cities, which was previously impossible. Using the latest technology, these types of models can be maintained and regularly updated, providing planners and maintainers on demand access, and supporting long term smart city planning. Models like these, combined with cloud delivered data management platforms that aggregate disparate datasets into a unified whole, have made it easier and faster for designers, planners, and engineers to access accurate up-to-date information when they need it. Australia has the people, the technology, and the financial resources to make smart cities the norm within a few years. But to achieve this, we need the highest level of political leadership to deliver the policies and investments at a local level where the challenges and resources are best understood. That will only happen if public-sector leaders commit to long-term, collaborative principles – and apply them to new projects as quickly as possible. Australia is still in many ways the Lucky Country. Rapid, collaborative investment in smart cities will help us continue to make our own luck. Brian Middleton is Vice President ANZ for Bentley Systems. [post_title] => Lucky country, smart city - Opinion [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => lucky-country-smart-city [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 08:26:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 21:26:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28585 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28576 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-20 13:16:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-20 02:16:19 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28577" align="alignnone" width="295"] Trouble in paradise[/caption] Norfolk Island is ‘on the brink of disaster’, says an independent report on the island’s economic situation. The report was commissioned by the island’s small community following the Australian Government’s abolition of self-government in July 2016 and the imposition of direct rule. Norfolk Island’s 1700 residents are now subject to the same laws – and taxation – as the rest of Australia, and is expected to pay its own way. The report, written by economist and scientist Dr Chris Nobbs says that the changes mean “spiralling costs and inappropriate regulation.” It is titled ‘On the Brink of Disaster: The Impact of the Australian Government Reforms on Norfolk Island Businesses’. Dr Nobbs says Norfolk Island is in crisis as the direct result of flaws in the intervention by the Australian Government in Norfolk Island's governance and economy. The report outlines the impact of substantial cost increases facing businesses, including “double-digit price rises for incoming freight, a 15 percent rise in telecommunications costs, a 12.7 percent rise in regional council fees, along with regulatory changes that will see wage costs jump more than 35 percent next year.” The report projects that Norfolk Island will suffer significant price rises, a steep downturn in tourism, a slump in business activity, a rise in unemployment, and widespread community distress. “By requiring both that Norfolk Island pay its own way and that Norfolk Islanders become like mainland Australians in terms of their obligations and expectations, the Australian Government is crushing the island's economy in a vice from which few groups will escape unscathed,” says Dr Nobbs. Critical factors the report singles out as responsible for the economic crisis include:
  • the widespread imposition of Commonwealth and NSW laws and regulatory regimes.
  • the planned introduction of Australia's industrial awards.
  • the failure of the Australian Government to take up the responsibilities previously held by the Norfolk Island Government, such as for the promotion of tourism.
  • the loss of direct passenger airline services between New Zealand and Norfolk Island.
  • restrictions placed on primary producers and agriculture
  • the removal of the general revenue raising powers of the Norfolk Island Government.
The makes a number of recommendations to the Australian Government, including the halting of further impositions on the island. It says the Productivity Commission should carry out research and conduct a public inquiry to determine the real financial capacity of Norfolk Island and how it can survive economically, socially and culturally at reasonable cost. Norfolk Island has a population of only 1750 and an area of 34.6 sq km, and a very chequered history of governance. It was part of the colony of NSW from its founding as a penal settlement in 1788, and was transferred to Van Diemen’s Land in 1844. Van Diemen’s Land was renamed Tasmania in 1856, and in the same year Norfolk Island became a distinct British territory with its own Governor. 1897 that office was abolished and administration returned to NSW, though the island remained a separate entity. It became a Territory of Australia in 1913, under an Administrator. Then, in 1979 Norfolk Island was granted limited self government, with a small Legislative Assembly running most internal affairs. Financial problems led to the islanders asking for special assistance from the Australian Government in 2010, which led to the recent changes. More than two thirds of the island’s voters rejected direct rule from Canberra at a referendum, but to no avail. Elections were held for a new Regional Council, a standard Australian Local Government Area, and Norfolk Island became an integral part of Australia on 1 July 2017. Islanders can now voe in Australian elections, where they are deemed to be part of the electorate of Canberra. But the natives are increasingly restless. “The Australian Government has given insufficient thought to the genuine requirements of a very small and marine-isolated economy such as Norfolk Island has. The ‘development’ model currently in place for Norfolk Island is grossly inappropriate. Dr Nobbs’ 34 page report is available here. [post_title] => Federal takeover a ‘disaster’ for Norfolk Island [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-takeover-disaster-norfolk-island [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 06:04:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 19:04:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28576 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28556 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-16 05:58:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-15 18:58:27 [post_content] =>

A recent audit by Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) revealed that there are currently over 70 significant IT projects in the Federal Government. With an estimated lifetime cost of $7.2 billion, it is clear that digital in government is here to stay. Although it strategy into cloud and open source is clear, part of the Government’s push to digital involves its uptake of big data initiatives. These initiatives have been bolstered by recent announcements such as GovPass and the Productivity Agenda. Increasingly, big data goes beyond large datasets. The term has been used to describe the process of collecting the data and analysing it to identify patterns, trends, and associations relating to human behaviour, digital footprints, and security. Increasingly, big data also takes into consideration real-time ‘data as it happens,’ which provides smaller and increasingly relevant datasets to allow new avenues of data exploration for predictive modelling accuracy. The Australian Government has significant investments in data analysis technologies. It is investing in next-generation data platform technologies to drive economic and social welfare benefits for citizens. As we move to make important decisions with data, it is essential that big data technologies provide reliable, authenticated, and secure information, while at the same time ensuring value for money for the Government. The next generation of technologies, sometimes referred to as ‘big data 2.0’, offers enterprise-level applications without the cost and complexity that has often accompanied big data applications, and with the stability of open source. With enterprise streaming, improved data capture, open APIs (applications pr0gramming interfaces), and scalable storage for nearly all types of file formats, citizens and government will be able to rely on and trust in data.

Saving money always, in all ways

Like businesses, governments are always looking into ways to optimise IT costs, reduce risk, and deliver greater value to citizens with smaller investments. In response to this, the recent Productivity Agenda announced that the Government will leverage big data to uncover inefficiencies in public spending to give back to Australians. The benefits of embracing big data 2.0 technologies are diverse, especially for governments. Data analytics can aid governments in relation to organisational redundancy, preventing fraud and other financial crimes, run better biometrics, analyse real-time imagery, and most importantly, manage resources and funds more efficiently. The technology also provides an excellent return on investment. Money saved can be invested in digital solutions to deliver greater efficiencies and performance by transforming legacy applications. Moving legacy to operational, whilst having the ability to develop future state all at the same time, is of huge value. By using big data platforms, these decision-makers no longer have to conduct extensive research and analysis across multiple data sources stored in a variety of systems to find the gaps where spending can be reined in.

Doing away with inefficiencies

Big data 2.0 also has the ability to drastically reduce interdepartmental inefficiencies. The recent announcement of GovPass is one positive step forward in eliminating inefficiencies and furthering Australia’s digital transformation strategy. The program will rely on hugely complex data platforms to identify and verify all Australians online, matching a user's photograph, as well as information such as Medicare details, driver's licence, and birth certificate details, with data already held by various departments. India has already successfully developed and deployed complex identity projects, such as The Aadhar project, which verifies millions of users in under 200 milliseconds. Australians currently have to move between numerous online services through a variety of departments, all with different login processes. By simplifying more than 30 logins required for various government services, there will be a significant benefit for Australians who’ll have a smoother and more efficient interaction with government services. The adoption of big data 2.0 platforms in the Australian Government signals a new frontier for government services, as more digital transformation programs are being considered by these once-traditional organisations to optimise costs and streamline services. Adrian Smolski is a Senior Solutions Architect and Mike Pamphilon is Director (Australian Federal Government, Defence and Intelligence) at MapR.   [post_title] => Big data 2.0 a big opportunity for government [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => big-data-2-0-big-opportunity-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 06:13:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 19:13:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28556 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28544 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-14 12:42:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-14 01:42:41 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28545" align="alignnone" width="220"] Darwin to get 'switched on'[/caption] The Australian Government has made its first grants under its Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The grants are to Darwin to ‘switch on’ the city, and to a number of smaller projects in Perth. The program, announced in March 2017 has earmarked $50 million for projects across Australia, with 40 percent of the total to be located in regional areas. Darwin is the big winner from the first round of grants, with $5 million awarded to the City of Darwin and the Northern Territory Government, who will each contribute $2.5 million to the $10 million project. The money will pay for the installation of CCTV cameras at entrances to the city and on Daly Street and Bennett Street in the CBD. Street lighting will be upgraded to LED lighting and on ‘smart’ columns with the capacity to adjust lighting to reduce street crime. In Bicentennial Park along the Darwin foreshore, smart lighting will include sound monitoring to detect people in distress and potentially notify policy and emergency services. No mention was made in the announcement of the fact that the ‘street crime’ and ‘people in distress’ are mostly homeless or indigenous people. The NT Government has recently announced a program to address ‘anti-social itinerant behaviour’ on Darwin’s streets. Homeless (‘itinerant’) Aborigines (‘indigenous people') hanging around the streets, often drunk and engaging in petty street crime, is a major problem in Darwin. In September a video of a shop owner using a hose to move one in the centre of town caused a minor storm. Darwin’s free city Wi-fi network will also be expanded in key tourist and shopping areas. Smart parking sensors will indicate available parking, intended to reduce congestion and emissions. Perth has also been awarded $6 million in technology grants under the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. It supplements $9 million from the LGAs in which the projects are located, bringing the total value of the announcements to $15 million:
  • City of Fremantle: renewable energy generation and storage, rainwater storage and distribution, and an electric vehicle shared ownership trial ($8.26 million).
  • City of Perth: communications precinct around the new Perth Stadium (to be called Optus Stadium after a recent ten year $50 million naming rights deal) and an irrigation trial in public parks ($2.63 million).
  • City of Joondalup: monitoring system to better manage the Yellagonga Wetlands ($2.05 million).
  • University of Western Australia and the City of Wanneroo: real-time rail patronage data to improve development of rail station precincts along the Metronet extension ($1 million).
  • City of Gosnells: real-time data on thermal performance of newly built homes, to encourage the uptake of energy efficiency measures for new housing developments ($265,000).
  • RAC WA with the City of South Perth: trial of driverless electric shuttles to reduce congestion ($980,000).
There will be 52 projects around Australia in the $28.5 million allocated under the first round of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, with other projects to be announced soon. The second round of funding will open in the first half of 2018. The Australian Smart Communities Association (ASCA) welcomed the announcements and said they “indicate a growing realisation in government circles that smart technologies will positively transform our communities. “We look forward to working with the Federal Government to ensure that Australia is a global leader in the deployment of smart technologies,” said newly appointed ASCA CEO Laurie Patton. “While there's already a good deal of energy at local government level we'll need Canberra and the states and territories on board if we are to become world class, so we applaud the Federal Government on this project. “ASCA is committed to fostering informed debate and greater collaboration across all sectors involved in this exciting area of social policy.” Originally established as the Broadband Alliance, ASCA started as a collaborative coalition of local government, Regional Development Associations and Regional Organisations of Councils. It describes itself as the ‘peak industry association in Australia supporting the rapidly developing digital, sharing and interconnected communities’.   [post_title] => First Smart Cities funding announced [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => first-smart-cities-funding-announced [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 03:52:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 16:52:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28544 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28541 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-14 09:37:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-13 22:37:43 [post_content] => We didn’t plan it this way. But every story in Government News this week has to do with government’s use of digital technology. It is a sure sign of the times. In the PC boom of the 1980s and the Internet booms of the 1990s, digital technology began to change our lives. Now, in the so-called Information Millennium, it continues to do so, at an increasing pace. Government has been slower to react than private industry. But the fastest growth in digitisation has been at the personal level, largely driven by higher bandwidth and the near-universal availability of smartphones and other mobile technology. Indeed, it has been our increased access to digital products and services, at a personal level, that has been one of the key drivers of the digital delivery of all virtually everything. In an always on connected world, we expect – and demand – a lot more. Many in government are struggling to keep up. But they have no choice. The articles we have run this week show the depth and breadth of digital technology in government in Australia.
  • We look at the ANZ Local Government Digital Maturity Index, a Government News initiative (sponsored by Objective) which measures and compares the extent of digitisation in local government (it’s a very mixed bag).
  • We report on the recent Social Media for Government Summit, which shows the extent to which this new medium has become an important part of how governments at all levels disseminate information, and at how they use the technology to measure the effectiveness of their message.
  • The Victorian Government’s largest agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has rebuilt its IT systems using cloud technology, enabling much faster applications development and much more control. CIO Dr Steve Hodgkinson told Government News how it was done.
  • Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor explains how the Federal Government is engaging with the ICT industry, and how the Digital Transformation Authority is enabling a number of new technologies, and in particular identity management.
  • But digital is not everything. A guest article by Jabra’s David Piggott explains why the human touch is still important, especially in government (Jabra sells voice telecommunications gear).
Digital is touching every aspect of government, and every level. Government is essentially a services industry, certainly from the viewpoint of people who deal with it. And in today’s world, services means digital. Not until we were putting together this edition of the Government News biweekly newsletter did we realise that every story was about digital technology. It will not be the last. Digital is the future. And, as this rush of stories shows, it is also the present. Digitise or die! [post_title] => Digital here, digital there – digital everywhere! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-digital-digital-everywhere [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-14 09:37:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-13 22:37:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28541 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28527 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-14 06:06:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-13 19:06:54 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28528" align="alignnone" width="300"] Social Media for Govt Summit[/caption] Social media is now a major channel through which Australia’s government sector disseminates information. It is also increasingly important in other ways – as a way of measuring community reaction to government initiatives, for example. The ninth annual Social Media for Government Summit in Melbourne has heard from dozens of government speakers about how social media is being used to transform the way their organisations relate with their stakeholders. The Summit attracted 140 attendees from local, state and federal governments from every state. They were addressed by a wide range of speakers, including representatives from:
  • Service NSW
  • QUT
  • Queensland Health
  • SBS
  • Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Organisation
  • City of Melbourne
  • Ambulance Victoria
  • South Australia Tourism Commission
  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • WorkSafe Victori
  • South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Victoria Police
  • Macquarie University
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
The Summit was designed to help government agencies better engage with the public on social media, by improving their capabilities in such areas as the management of social media crisis situations; how to use video content; and how to benchmark, analyse and evaluate social media impact. The event was sponsored by social media archiving service Brolly and social media monitoring and analytics company Meltwater. It was held at the Novotel on Collins in Melbourne on 25-27 October. “We live in a changing world where people are consuming information and engaging with organisations differently – increasingly on social media,” said Nathan Cram, Brolly’s founder and CEO. “This requires governments to upskill in their social media capabilities and archiving and compliance. Brolly is Australia’s first social media archiving service. It was developed by IT specialist Nathan Cram, after he relied on Victorian Country Fire Authority Twitter warnings to escape the 2014 Wye River Christmas bushfires. “This made me realise how important it is for government agencies to track their online interactions, to protect themselves, and to protect citizens,” he said. “Social media is now the fastest, easiest way to connect with the public. Once information is shared it has the potential to reach an enormous number of people. I started thinking, how are we capturing these public engagements? How are agencies managing this? I was concerned about the lack of local social media record management tools and saw the opportunity to create one.” The conference was also addressed by senior executives from the Australian offices of social media companies Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Roy Tan, Public Policy Outreach for Facebook, said that 15 million people in Australia access Facebook every month, with 12 million of these, around 80 percent of active user, return to the site every day. He said the widespread use of smartphones is fuelling the growth of social media, and in particular video viewing. “Over14 million Australians access Facebook monthly on a mobile,” he said. “Mobile use demands new ways of communication because content is consumed very quickly, with an average of just 1.7 seconds spent on each item of content). “But much more time is spent on mobile apps than on browsers – as much as ten times more.” The next two Social Media for Government Summits will be held on 17-19 April 2018 in Canberra, and 23-25 October 2018 in Melbourne. [post_title] => Social media an important government channel [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => social-media-important-government-channel [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 06:08:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 19:08:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28527 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28518 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-14 05:47:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-13 18:47:51 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28519" align="alignnone" width="300"] David Piggott, Jabra[/caption] While digital automation has started to transform the public sector, there remains at least one place where human interaction is – and always will be – vital to the success of an organisation. Digitisation has not only changed how we shop, listen to music, and even travel to the airport, but it is also now changing the ways government agencies provide public services. There are myriad reasons for the public sector’s increased ‘Uberisation’. The most obvious is lower cost. But there is also a growing dissatisfaction among citizens over the way many government programs are delivered. The public is demanding more services, delivered more effectively and efficiently. It makes sense that digital automation will allow government agencies to provide this. It is certainly possible to automate some service functions in a way that will satisfy the public. This may include services such as enabling people to pay bills, renew licenses or handle a multitude of other chores online without human intervention that are relatively easy, low-cost, high-return activities. But regardless of the potential benefits automation promises, there remains a crucial tool that chatbots and automation can never replace: the good, old-fashioned human touch. It is basic human nature to want to speak to another person when things start to get personal, emotional and complicated. Despite their ever-increasing levels of intelligence, machines will always be machines. This means that, unlike humans, machines aren’t very good at providing personalised service to customers. But that is just what a customer-focused organisation, especially one in the public sector, needs. There are plenty of reasons why eliminating the human touch from serving the public is not a wise decision. Here are just a few:

1. Humans are problem-solvers

Perhaps the single most important part of serving the public is resolving issues when they arise. With the ability to listen, understand, seek out information and apply accumulated knowledge and past experiences to situations, humans are far better problem-solvers than any machine or automated process could ever dream of being. As the complexity of the issue increases, this becomes exponentially clear. Think of your own experiences with customer service. How many times have you been trapped at a self-service checkout that scanned your item twice or just isn’t working – and there’s no customer service agent in sight to help? The frustration is enough to make you wish you’d just chosen to wait longer in the human line in the first place.

2. Humans have empathy

The uniquely human emotion of empathy is another factor that makes people such outstanding problem-solvers. The soothing feeling that comes from a comforting voice assuring you they understand your problem and can fix it is a benefit of human interaction. The expressionless computerised voice that says “I’m sorry you’re having trouble with your selection” isn’t sorry at all. Such is the impersonal nature of automation that makes technology a poor choice to manage vital public service functions. Without having access to such feelings, a machine cannot empathise with a situation, regardless of how much it emulates it.

3. Humans need options

Finally, there is a very simple reason why the human touch should be included in public service efforts —the public wants options when it comes to receiving service. While there are those who prefer self-service, many still want to talk to a person, even if it’s to handle the most mundane of tasks. Denying the opportunity to people to be able to choose is short-sighted and certain to disappoint to say the least.

The need for human co-workers

The human touch isn’t only important to us as public citizens—it is an aspect of life that can go a long way in the workforce as well. With the help of digitisation, we’re often quick to text or email colleagues and clients when an old-fashioned phone call may be the better tool for resolving an on-the-job issue. Not only does it minimise the opportunity for miscommunication, but talking face-to-face, over the phone or by video conferencing can also create an emotional bond that will only be strengthened through frequency – a connection that makes a difference for several reasons.
  • Talking often actually saves time and spares us plenty of unproductive back-and-forth email exchanges. This results in conflicts and disagreements being resolved more easily and immediately when using the phone, as intent is better conveyed verbally rather than by email.
  • Emails provide very little peripheral knowledge and the subsequent opportunities when compared to a personal conversation. Actively listening allows us to take in much more information than we’d get from reading an email, including what colleagues are working on, their main difficulties, and how you could possibly help. Reading between the lines of an email can only get you so far.
  • Emails make it too easy for recipients to say no, or simply ignore a query altogether. Our requests convey more gravity and urgency when delivered in a personal meeting or over the phone, making them more difficult to ignore or decline.
Digitisation and automation certainly have a time and place, but the human touch is really the most effective tool when it comes to serving the public or working effectively with colleagues. David Piggott is Managing Director ANZ at Jabra [post_title] => Digital is important – but so is the human touch (OPINION) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-important-human-touch-opinion [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-17 10:54:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-16 23:54:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28518 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28510 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-13 06:13:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-12 19:13:00 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28511" align="alignnone" width="300"] Angus Taylor being porous (Wikimedia)[/caption] The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has set up an email hotline for technology providers who have difficulties dealing with the Federal Government.

Speaking to industry at the National Press Club on 10 November, Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the DTA has a strong focus on engaging with businesses.

“We are constantly looking for ways to deliver benefits more quickly and effectively. We have made it clear how important the partnership with industry is for us. We have to be porous.”

Mr Taylor said he would aggressively seek solutions for problems faced by businesses. “If the industry uses this service well, it can be incredibly powerful.”

The email address is confidentialprocurement@dta.gov.au “We have to make government more porous.” There’s that ‘porous’ word again. It means something through which liquid or air may pass, as opposed to the more widely used ‘transparent’, which is something that lets light through. We assume he means much the same thing, and that a porous government is one that listens to people. “We have to make those relationships with industry stronger, not just in IT, but right across government. “That is why we have established a confidential email inbox for industry to highlight barriers to procurement, innovation and delivery. They will be seen by my office, and by the DTA. “It is your chance to say when things aren't going as well as they should. We need that feedback. I will personally review every one of those emails.” In his talk at the Press Club Mr Taylor also reviewed major government ICT projects and reforms to ICT procurement and investment, and developments in digital identity management for the myGov service. “In the last 12 months we have delivered an ICT procurement reform agenda. We have reviewed the entire ICT project estate three times. We have reviewed around 20 new projects at the pre-investment stage that has saved nearly $3 billion in projected costs. “We have made major steps in addressing the problems we had with myGov, and we have delivered a vision for a modern digital identity system.” MyGov, the Federal Government’s digital identification system, has been beset with delays and technical problems. It does seem to be improving, perhaps because it is more porous. “When I first entered the job, myGov was not where we wanted it to be and to be honest the relationship with the old DTO  was not where I wanted it to be either.” Of course, at the time we were told everything was going well. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. (The DTO was the Digital Transformation Office, which was replaced by the DTA last year). “But over the intervening period a process of heavy engagement between ministers, senior executives and delivery teams has given us some stunning results. “It wasn't always easy and we had some robust debates along the way – but we have been working together towards a common goal in a way that hasn’t happened in the past.” “By focusing on the user, we were able to increase MyGov usage by 100,000 logins a day and maintain its availability at 100 percent at crucial times. It now has a successful log on statistic of over 97 percent, in line with well performing banks.” Mr Taylor outlined the Government’s vision for MyGov. “The myGov of today is not the myGov of tomorrow. It will evolve to be both a respected brand and critical enabler to the common platforms across government, across governance and ultimately across the economy that will underpin our modern digital experience. “Look at the great Internet success stories. All of them have created an environment where your identity is key and they offer a smooth user friendly experience. My favourite example for this is PayPal. “Millions of people use PayPal every day to prove their identity and make a payment. And the vast majority of them never navigate to the PayPal site. It is merely part of an automated user journey from the online shopping site that they know. “A federated, enabling view of identity is the right view and it's what we are delivering.” And it’s porous! [post_title] => Tell us your problems, we're porous, Taylor tells ICT industry [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => tell-us-problems-porous-taylor-tells-ict-industry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-17 10:56:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-16 23:56:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28510 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28504 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-12 14:00:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-12 03:00:35 [post_content] =>   Australia will be the first country in the world to use new GPS technology that will be almost a hundred times more accurate than the existing system. The new system will enable a range of new applications, such as precision farming. The Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) trial is being managed by Geoscience Australia in partnership with technology companies GMV, Inmarsat and Lockheed Martin. The Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) is managing the industry projects being trialled as part of the project. It received 86 applications to participate in the trial. More than 30 projects were selected. The CRCSI will evaluate and report on the benefits and applications relevant to their business and sector, will range across 10 industry sectors including agriculture, aviation, construction, consumer, maritime, rail, road, resources, spatial and utilities. The trial was launched in Rockhampton by Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan, back in the ministry after his citizenship scare. It is funded by $12 million from the Australian Government and $2 million from the New Zealand Government. One of the first trials is by Central Queensland University, which will test how SBAS can be used by cattle and sheep farmers to lower costs and improve production. The project is testing the construction of ‘virtual fencing’ for strip grazing, and looking at how the precise tracking of livestock can be used for early disease detection and more efficient breeding programs.

Current GPS (Global Positioning System) can only track to within 5 to 10 metres. SBAS improves this to less than 10 centimetres.

“One of the projects will be examining the potential of ‘fenceless farming’ for strip grazing. Another will look at how crop health can be improved through more precise irrigation, fertiliser use and pest control,” said Mr Canavan.

“The new technologies basically augment and correct the positioning signals already transmitted to Australia by constellations of international satellites like the US GPS.

The increase in accuracy comes from triangulating three separate signals, which will be uplinked to a geostationary communications satellite out of Lockheed Martin’s station at Uralla, near Armidale in northern NSW. In September Lockheed Martin switched on a second generation SBAS-2 at Uralla. Australia is the first country in the world to trial Precise Point Positioning (PPP) corrections integrated into an SBAS service.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, who was also on hand for the launch, said improving positioning technology also has the potential to provide safety, efficiency, capacity and environmental benefits for all transport sectors.

“Satellite-based technology is already used significantly in the aviation and maritime industries. SBAS provides opportunities to increase the safe and productive use of this technology. Automated vehicle and train management systems also provide exciting opportunities for road and rail users in the future.”

[post_title] => Government announces ‘world first’ satellite positioning system [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-announced-world-first-satellite-positioning-system [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 06:11:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 19:11:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28504 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28500 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-09 13:20:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-09 02:20:36 [post_content] =>

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has published its annual data on the number of public sector employees in Australia. There are more than ever before – nearly 2 million (1.957 million), a slight increase on the year before. Commonwealth numbers are down, by just 3,400 to 239,300, but state numbers are up by nearly 30,000 to 1.528 million and local government numbers up by 3,000 to 190,000. The numbers mean that around 16 percent of Australia’s workforce are public servants. The largest public employer is the NSW State Government, with 469,000 employees. The NSW public service is thus almost exactly twice the size of the Commonwealths. Victoria (358,000) and Queensland (322,000) also employ more public servants than the Feds. State governments employ more than three quarters of Australia’s public servants. This is not surprising, since it is the state that deliver education and health, which are major employers. All states had a growth in the number of public servants last year, except South Australia, which lost about 500 jobs. Data was not published for Tasmania, where numbers were declining before the ABS stopped issuing separate data for that state three years ago. The biggest percentage growth in numbers in the last year was in the Queensland State Government, where 12,000 extra public service jobs comprised nearly 40 percent of the growth nationally. The numbers of employees in local government grew in every state except Victoria and Tasmania, which showed small declines. The ten year trend shows a steady increase in the number of public servants in Australia, roughly in line with population growth. Only two years in the last decade (2011-12 and 2014-15) saw a decline. The ABS also published the numbers for total wages and salaries. The Commonwealth spent just over $21 billion on salaries, local government $12.5 billion, and the states a whopping $119 billion. The ABS numbers can be found here. [post_title] => Public sector employment – feds down, state and local up [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => public-sector-employment-feds-state-local [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-10 03:54:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-09 16:54:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28500 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28619 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-24 08:34:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-23 21:34:43 [post_content] => Cybersecurity has been the top priority for government agencies when migrating to digital services. A universal expectation from the government is that they will keep our personal and state information safe But this comes with a price. User experience has been poor and speeds and uptime have suffered. After a series of embarrassing failures, including the widely criticised #CensusFail, the Government is under increased pressure to deliver reliable digital services. Understandably, it has not wanted to prioritise usability over security, but the time has come when it needs to figure out how to achieve both. The Australian Taxation Office in particular, understands the need to re-build public trust after this year’s many outages. The new ‘digital by default’ and ‘cloud first’ policies have meant the ATO has had to leap into the cloud to improve reliability and speed in order to regain trust. The ATO has now announced that it is moving its mission critical applications off-premise and into the public cloud through Amazon Web Services (AWS) with the help of IBM’s integrator business and Accenture. The ATO is one of the first Federal Government agencies to implement the new strategies, potentially paving the way for others to follow suit. One of the biggest problems organisations are facing today is shifting away from outdated and unreliable legacy systems, and this is certainly true of Government agencies. While there is a misconception that the public cloud is less secure than other hosting options, in this scenario, migrating to the latest software in the cloud will actually reduce the government’s risk.

Mitigating risk

Traditionally, government has steered clear of the public cloud, fearing the security risks were too great. Instead, government agencies have either architected entire on-premise infrastructures or worked with telco providers to create a government-only network with encrypted communications and no outside connectivity. The ATO’s recent move to AWS could well mark the beginning of the end of this period in how the Government delivers services to Australians. In a recent talk at AWS, Alastair MacGibbon, the Prime Minister's Special Advisor on Cyber Security, said migrating to the public cloud is no longer seen as risky. Instead it will increase both reliability and the ability to react to new and evolving cybersecurity threats. Mr MacGibbon even admitted that cloud specialists like AWS are better equipped to manage the Government’s digital platforms.

Meeting public expectations

Government organisations are far from exempt from the extraordinarily high expectations Australians have of customer service providers. We expect the government to spend wisely on technology to make our lives easier. A 2016 study by Australia Post found that 94 percent of Australians want all government services to be available online. But only 29 percent of eGov users were satisfied with their experience, and 58 percent had encountered some problem with the online service. With consumer expectations rising, both state and the Federal Government need to invest in a better digital customer experience. For public cloud adoption, the focus needs to be around consistency of service levels and security posture when moving to public cloud environments like AWS – thus not affecting end-user experience and trust. The transition to the public cloud should not impact the end user, so a cheaper solution that is only good enough will not always deliver the results expected by government agencies. The tools used for delivering applications therefore need to be consistent and portable between cloud providers to provide optimal experience to the user and deliver a consistent service level, regardless of where the application resides. The goal for government should be for 99.9 percent uptime of applications whilst keeping them safe, and if this is not attainable, people will judge agencies on their speed and capability to bounce back from unexpected outages, downtime, or technical failures, particularly at times of urgency and peak traffic. Whilst public cloud adoption is a perfectly valid strategy, if the decision is solely based on cost, there is a good chance the service level comparison hasn’t taken place and a compromised service level and security posture has been provisioned  Service levels and security must at least be maintained and potentially improved. If not, information security and user confidence will be compromised, along with some embarrassed Government personnel. By shying away from perceived risk, rather than actual risk, the Government is doing itself more harm than good. By placing an increased importance on useability of its digital service, the Government will be able to better deliver services to those who need them, regaining the trust of Australians. The ATO is leading the race towards the Government’s cloud-first goal, paving the way for the rest to follow suit. Rather than seeing it as a risk, other government agencies should see the ATO’s leap towards the cloud as a positive step towards improving customer experience. Martyn Young is Senior Manager, System Engineering ANZ at F5 Networks   [post_title] => ATO hopes for clear skies as it moves to public cloud [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => ato-hopes-clear-skies-moves-public-cloud [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-24 08:54:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-23 21:54:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28619 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 1499 [max_num_pages] => 108 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => 1 [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => fb72b5c23e7ec9459b9165c170bf8d06 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

Federal

Civica

Lack of money and knowledge hindering digital transformation

Limited working budgets and an unsuitable organisational culture are the biggest barriers to achieving digital transformation in the local government sector, says a new report. The report, from University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and sponsored by software company Civica, is based on a survey of Australia and New Zealand Local Government Authorities. It was released […]

stop air pln

Battle lines drawn for energy COAG

The Council of Australian Government Energy Council meets in Hobart this Friday (24 November) to try to bring some order to Australia’s fractious energy policy. It will be the first meeting held since the announcement of the Federal Government’s National Electricity Guarantee (NEG). The Government is promoting the NEG as an alternative to the Chief […]

Bentley smart city

Lucky country, smart city – Opinion

Australia has long held a reputation for being the ‘Lucky Country’. That has largely been the case over the past 25 years. Our economy has the averted the financial crises that have plagued the USA and Europe. Most industries, with relatively high amounts of low-cost capital at their disposal, have grown steadily. But has this […]

Norfolk Island

Federal takeover a ‘disaster’ for Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island is ‘on the brink of disaster’, says an independent report on the island’s economic situation. The report was commissioned by the island’s small community following the Australian Government’s abolition of self-government in July 2016 and the imposition of direct rule. Norfolk Island’s 1700 residents are now subject to the same laws – and […]

big data

Big data 2.0 a big opportunity for government

A recent audit by Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) revealed that there are currently over 70 significant IT projects in the Federal Government. With an estimated lifetime cost of $7.2 billion, it is clear that digital in government is here to stay. Although it strategy into cloud and open source is clear, part of the […]

Darwin

First Smart Cities funding announced

The Australian Government has made its first grants under its Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The grants are to Darwin to ‘switch on’ the city, and to a number of smaller projects in Perth. The program, announced in March 2017 has earmarked $50 million for projects across Australia, with 40 percent of the total to […]

SocMedGov

Social media an important government channel

Social media is now a major channel through which Australia’s government sector disseminates information. It is also increasingly important in other ways – as a way of measuring community reaction to government initiatives, for example. The ninth annual Social Media for Government Summit in Melbourne has heard from dozens of government speakers about how social […]

Angus Taylor

Tell us your problems, we’re porous, Taylor tells ICT industry

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has set up an email hotline for technology providers who have difficulties dealing with the Federal Government. Speaking to industry at the National Press Club on 10 November, Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the DTA has a strong focus on engaging with businesses. “We are constantly looking […]